Q: The Seattle Times ran an article about expats in Paris who host dinners for guests from various walks of life. The article featured two such hosts. Do you have info on these dinners? I am planning a trip to Paris this summer.
A: These dinners are a real treat, not just for the food, but for the chance to connect with English and French-speaking locals living in Paris.
Jim Haynes, a well-traveled and outgoing Louisiana native retired from a teaching job at the University of Paris, has been hosting Sunday dinners at his Left Bank apartment for more than 30 years. Anyone is invited. Just go to www.jim-haynes.com and click on "Come to Sunday dinner!"
You'll enjoy a night at Jim's if you like big parties — summer dinners sometimes draw 150 — filled with interesting people who don't know each other but delight in sharing a meal and conversation. You can listen to Jim talk about "Inviting the World to Dinner" on NPR at www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId99172304.
Across town, Patricia Laplante-Collins, a native of Atlanta, hosts Sunday soirees where she gathers 20-25 people in her apartment in the Santier garment district on the Right Bank. Her gatherings are quieter and more intimate. They often include a speaker or a discussion on a topic such as art collecting or photography. Laplante-Collins also hosts Wednesday cocktail gatherings. See www.parissoirees.com.
I went to both dinners a couple of years ago — for which donations were requested — and found them to be a unique way to spend an evening in Paris. The food was simple but well-prepared, and the wine flowed freely. Here's a link to the story: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/travel/2003673205 _parisdinners22.html